Saturday, December 09, 2006

So much for the Irish - American relationships being special

The bureaucracy here is driving me insane. At least the insane bureaucracy is not in everything so I can mostly live without it, but there is one piece where they made it just very annoying.
So, the EU citizens that are resident but not originally local (Irish) who marry a non-EU citizen which will then move with the EU spouse to Ireland have fun time to expect.
How this worked before was the non-EU spouse would go with his documents to the local garda (police) station which would check the documents and give the residency stamps and card with a maximum of a few hours or days wait and maybe few days to check the documents' being valid.
How this works since May sounds in theory good for whomever decided to change this : now the non-EU spouse has to send his or her valid passport, their original copy of marriage certificate, a proof of address which sometimes may be the EU spouse's driving license to the inspection at Department of Justice. First Ireland didn't want to impose any time limits for how long this would take, allowing the DoJ an unlimited time to be as slow or fast as they want. EU legals made however that there would be a time limit for this original documents inspection, so it was set to "up to six months". and which the applicants would be able to shorten in case they would need their passport back urgently by contacting this Department of Justice by mail, email, or phone.
This if the marriage didn't take space in Ireland... well, the obligatory 3 months waste of time of 'notice' in Ireland bwfore being able to marry plus the great options of having a religious or a religious ceremony don't appeal to everyone. It didn't appeal to us, so we did it in another EU country where the paperwork took less time, and where we also could choose a minimum civil ceremony.
Back to this "up to six months". It was dictated by EU legal people, the Irish didn't want it to have any maximum time. I guess they were fed up with all these new people migrating here in the past few years. If you now walk in a bigger city like in Dublin, Cork, or Galway, often you can hear way more people speak Polish than Gaelic, and there are a lot of European and non-European languages that are a lot more often heard than the leprachaun mytical Gaelic. Even when the Irish do their best to look comfortable with the non-Irish, you often see a dislike in them. I don't know if it's for not wanting any changes to occur, or for wanting a slower pace in the immigration grace, of if those people are just grumpy with everyone that they don't know, but you can see it. Fortunately it doesn't go to the levels of the Japanese reacting on the non-Japanese in their country.
During these six months, the non-EU spouse has the right to stay for his or her marriage, but they can't work before they get residency, which should occur after those six months, or if they get a company to sponsor their visa or get another type of work visa.
During these six months, in case there is an emergency need for the passport - funerals, travels for job interviews etc - send in a request and they will send the passport back. In the papers it didn't say when. We asked for the passport back in early October as there was the need to get to a few job interviews in London. We have yet not received anything back.
After this annoying six months, the paperwork should arrive back in mail (in case you change your address it will be another piece of paperwork to send in... so I don't even want to think about changing my place to live in), and the non-EU person should be allowed to get his or her documents back, the residency, the PPS number for the social services and tax office, and the needed paperwork to be able to work legally.

This occurs not just to the third world people, but also to Americans and Canadians.

Six months without passport. Six months without the right to work, forced to leech off the EU spouse with their less than great Irish salaries. Six months when you can't travel, even if there were funerals or job interviews or any given reason, since they don't send any acknowledgment that they would have received your request in mail, email, or phone (just trying to get thru takes minimum hours). Or you can travel as far form where you live until you would have to have a passport, so that means no flying, no trains, no car renting (and the one of you that can drive manual has their license sent in for the same process to the same place), no staying overnight at any hotel, hostel or B&B ... Great six months.

This experience is not over yet but it has felt annoying all the time the papers are there, and I get more and more anxious every day. I want to travel, go to a weekend in London, Amsterdam, visit Germany with out friends, get out somewhere where there is sun for a week, go visit the parents, and start the Green Card process. If only it would have been me without the job last spring, we would have chosen the other side of the pond, where for being married the EU-spouse would have been working in a month.

Someone told that to an Irish married to a non-EU person it would take at least 18 - 24 months of leaching off the Irish spouse before getting the residency.

This process is getting on the nerves of both of us every single day. We want two incomes, to be able to do short trips (to afford to with the incomes), to start slowly the process of moving to the other side of the pond. The one that is not allowed to work after the first few weeks has been annoyed daily isn't any less stressed at least. The only thing that feels like a victory on the darkest days is that there is no more of that 90 days, out of country and back-life. It's not breaking only my balls but also UN human declarations points 13)2 (since no passport), 21)2, 22, and 23)1.

If it was a private company doing all this process, there would be these "how are we doing", "how could we improve our services" and "how was the person serving you like?" surveys. Since it is government, there are none.

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